If you’re a baseball fan, then the event that you have been waiting for all year has finally arrived – Happy Opening Week! I can’t say that I know too much about baseball, but I do know about dogs… and what better way to connect the two than with a game of fetch?! We all know at least one of those dogs who is doggone crazy for fetch. They eat, sleep, and breathe fetch, every day, all day! Fetch is an excellent way to exercise a pupper. It works their mind and their body simultaneously, and is a great training exercise to boot!
The majority of dogs (although not mine apparently) are genetically predisposed to chase after moving objects. They are predators, and the moving object is their prey – seems simple enough, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Wolves and Coyotes are the dog’s closest relatives, and they practice what is called “prey-carrying”. Essentially, the predator in question will bring its prey back to its pack after a hunt, thus retrieving dinner for its family.
There’s no question that some dogs are much more into fetching than others, which is where selective breeding comes into play. Over the centuries, man realized that if they bred two dogs who both had a particular affinity for hunting, and the traits that accompanied a successful hunter, they could end up with a prime hunting companion. This is how we came to create (and love) our Labrador Retrievers, and other hunters of today!
As just a fun bonus of playing fetch, studies have actually shown that a game of fetch stimulates the reward region of the brain. Essentially, the act of retrieving a ball (or toy of choice) acts as its own reward. Then, once the pup brings the toy back, he gets two more rewards: huge praise from their human, the chance to chase a moving object again – what could be better?! At the end of the day, a fetching pup is a happy pup!